Netflix just became the most recent tech giant to up the stakes in the industry’s long running employee benefits arms race, announcing unlimited parental leave for the first year after a worker’s child is born.
Microsoft isn’t going that far, but it is rolling out updated perks of its own. The company on Wednesday announced a sweeping overhaul to its employee benefits package — doubling the amount of paid time off new parents will receive, adding company-wide holidays and reworking its 401(k) matching program.
The company says the changes aren’t a response to Netflix. However, they are part of a broader trend of escalating employee benefits across the tech industry. Other companies, from Facebook to Google, have also been reworking their benefits packages as competition for tech talent rises to new heights.
New mothers at Microsoft used to receive 20 weeks of leave, 12 of which were paid. New fathers received 12 weeks, with four being paid. Now, every new parent gets 12 weeks of paid leave, and mothers get an extra eight weeks. Expecting mothers also have a chance to take two weeks of short-term disability before their due date.
Parents will also have more options in how they use their time off. It can be all together in one continuous break, or split into two periods with an option to phase back into work on a half-time basis.
Microsoft also announced the company is adding Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day to the list of company holidays, to “create time for us to pause in the lengthy period between New Year’s Day and Memorial Day.”
Finally, Microsoft said it will increase the company’s 401(k) match program, matching 50 percent of employee deferrals up to $9,000 per year.
“I see a tremendous opportunity for companies to put a stake in the ground around what they believe in and what kind of culture they want to build together with employees,” Microsoft executive vice president of human resources Kathleen Hogan wrote in the blog post.
Wednesday’s announcement comes just months after Microsoft became the first in the industry to require paid sick leave for its contract workers.